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Upon Overhearing Happiness at Bathtime

A poem

Published on:
May 20, 2019
Read time:
1 min.
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This thrilling air, your giggles on it and scent of sweet
baby-soap. Mama baptizing you with splashes
to get the grime, from your whistle-blonde hair
to the curls of your toes, the briny bubbles
foaming round your belly. Rubber duck and cups filled and
spilled with joy and mama laughs with you. Babbles smile
down the stairway as I wash
the dishes, the only one not there but listening
with a jealous ear. As you rinse I dry the glassware, wipe the
counter, place the skillet back in its rack, stack the leftovers
in the fridge. This house was hollow
til your ticklish laughter filled it, the tub and sink
pithy basins with no humor, there only to chore in. But
you are no dish; the washing you take is not
merely to cleanse you, but to lotion you with love.
So tedium makes way for another vessel, another duty.
The stains on the counter can be forgotten. I clamor
up the stairs to join the happy chorus of your coos.

Adam Palumbo
Adam Palumbois a poet living in Durham, NC. He has published essays, reviews, poems, and translations in Carolina Quarterly, Barely South Review, Open Letters Monthly, The Rumpus, and the Wilfred Owen Association Journal, among others. Adam recently received a 2018–2019 Emerging Artists Award from the Durham Arts Council and will be attending a writers' residency at the Weymouth Center for Arts and Humanities in the fall of 2019.

Cover photo by Chayene Rafaela.

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